Meeting the Woman at the Well

From Darren Howie (Susannah Wesley House and Sacred Bean)

Morning reflection after reading John’s Gospel, chapter 4. Woman at the well.

The power of encountering the kindness of another human being has the potential to radically alter the course of another person’s life.

This is Ballikinrain Castle, a residential children’s home I was in for 5 years of my adolescent life. It was run by the Church of Scotland.

Whilst my general experience in the care system was laced with traumatic experiences, this place actually wasn’t. It was here I met and encountered love and kindness, and that people in authority can use their power to heal and nurture others rather than harm them.

It was in BRC that I would discover for the first time that tearaways like me were gifted, of worth and valued. Alec was my key worker. Paul was my teacher. Both were followers of Jesus. Not that one needs Jesus to be kind. At this point in my journey it could have gone badly wrong, but for the 5 years I was there I flourished. The seeds of love were planted, though they wouldn’t bud until years later.

After leaving the safety of this place there were 15 years of chronic substance abuse and spells in prison. But the encounter left its mark.

And I remembered.